CHE GUEVARA: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson

CHE GUEVARA: A Revolutionary Life

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A sweeping biography of the Latino revolutionary and pop-culture hero. Anderson (Guerrillas, 1992), a journalist with a longtime interest in Latin American affairs, steers clear of ideology, arguing that the Argentinian-born Guevara was both a brilliant tactician and fighter (a conclusion sure to please his admirers) and the truest representative of the old international communist agitator the State Department warned us about (a conclusion equally sure to please Guevara's detractors). Anderson writes at some length about Che's early bohemian days, spent ranging up and down the Americas on a motorcycle, looking for kicks. He goes on to persuasively establish that Guevara's connection with Fidel Castro came much earlier than the standard sources suggest. He also proves beyond doubt that Guevara was captured and executed by Bolivian counterinsurgency rangers and not killed, as the official story had it, in a firefight, automatic weapon in hand. Anderson traces the strange influence of the politics of the Argentine dictator Juan Pern¢ on Guevara, analyzes the utterly disastrous mid-1960s Cuban intervention in the Congo, and considers Castro and Guevara's sometimes tense relationship. He shows that Castro did not include Guevara in the publicly visible Cuban revolutionary leadership because Castro feared that featuring an avowed Marxist would alienate his non-communist allies. (For their pan, he writes, the Soviets could never be sure whether Guevara was not truly a Maoist and held him in deep suspicion.) Drawing on a vast range of interviews and secondary sources, including little-known Latin American documents and material from the archives of the KGB, Anderson paints a portrait of Guevara as both hero and fanatic. The author's fondness for showering the reader with every detail he has uncovered makes this sprawling book sometimes tough slogging, but students of Che's life and deeds need look no farther than Anderson's volume.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0802135587
Page count: 832pp
Publisher: Grove